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Alleged serial rapist: I was only trying to help

Eddie Medrano, 53, shown here at his recent plea hearing, told police he was only trying to help a woman and her boyfriend whom he took to his trailer in rural Ifeld, but the woman told police she was raped there. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Eddie Medrano, 53, shown here at his recent plea hearing, told police he was only trying to help a woman and her boyfriend whom he took to his trailer in rural Ifeld, but the woman told police she was raped there. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE, N.M. — Eddie Medrano told police he was just trying to give a helping hand to people in need, but now he’s sitting in jail and awaiting sentencing after pleading no contest to sexually assaulting three women he picked up off the streets and from a homeless shelter.

State Police reports recently obtained by the Journal detail the events that got Medrano, 53, charged with 21 counts of first-degree criminal sexual penetration against the three women he lured with promises of durgs and alcohol, in addition to assault, extortion and false imprisonment charges.

On March 14, he pleaded no contest to four lesser counts of sexual criminal penetration at a plea hearing in state District Court in Las Vegas, N.M., and he faces up to 18 years in prison. His sentencing hearing has not been scheduled.

The newly released State Police reports show that Medrano had a habit of allowing homeless men and women to stay with him. In one case that led to some of the criminal charges against him, he told police that he was trying to help a couple and was even counseling them for their drinking problems.

But the woman and her boyfriend both ended up in the hospital – the woman for a sexual assault exam and the man for a head injury.

Another woman told State Police in 2013 and again in 2015 that she was certain Medrano was going to kill her after she was taken to his trailer in San Miguel County, spurring her to make a harrowing escape by flagging down a motorist on Interstate 25.

State Police started investigating Medrano’s alleged crimes on Aug. 10, 2014, when an officer was dispatched to his trailer in Ilfield, southeast of Pecos (He also has a residence in Santa Fe).

The man’s girlfriend was at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center and said Medrano had raped her, and she said her boyfriend was still at Medrano’s Ilfeld trailer and was in danger. The officer arrived at the trailer and found several people there, and he saw a man sitting under a tree, bleeding from his head.

The bleeding man told the officer that Medrano attacked him the night before for urinating on his couch. After the officer arrived, he was taken to Christus St. Vincent’s to be treated for the cut.

The couple told officers at the hospital that Medrano had picked them up in Albuquerque about a week before and offered to give them a ride. They thought they were just going to their Albuquerque apartment, but Medrano started packing their things up when they got there. The couple said they thought Medrano was taking them to Bernalillo when they got onto Interstate 25, but they said he just kept driving north. There’s no explanation in the reports of why they went with Medrano from the apartment or thought they were going to Bernalillo.

They said Medrano made them sleep outside the Ilfeld trailer that night and Medrano came out later, grabbed the woman and took her inside the trailer. The woman said Medrano raped her and the man said he heard screams coming from a room in the trailer, which he said was locked after Medrano took his girlfriend inside.

The next day, they said Medrano was going to take the woman to a bank in Santa Fe so he could get money from her account. The woman said Medrano threatened to hit her boyfriend with a sledgehammer and kill him if he didn’t get the money.

The man said he told his girlfriend to tell a bank employee that she was in danger. The woman told a teller at U.S. Bank that she was being held against her will, and that teller called the Santa Fe Police Department.

Once SFPD officers got there, the woman said they “accused her of being drunk and told her she was crazy” and said “at no time did the police department do anything to help her,” according to a State Police incident report. Santa Fe officers made sure the woman and Medrano were separated, and made Medrano leave the area, the report states.

Santa Fe police did take the woman to the Esperanza Shelter, from which she was taken to Christus St. Vincent’s to be treated by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE).

State Police Agent Nick Levine got a copy of the SANE report, which in which the woman said Medrano had pulled her into the tailer bedroom and forcefully had sex with her.

The SANE report also documents eight bruises on the woman’s body, Levine wrote.

Medrano was later charged with one count each of rape, assault, false imprisonment and extortion for alleged crimes against this victim.

Medrano maintained after he was arrested that he was not holding the couple captive and said they were free to go at any time. He said the man somehow fell on his face and that’s why it was swollen.

He got emotional at one point and said he “wanted to help these people out,” according to a report. Medrano said he wasn’t trying to hurt anyone, but rather was giving them a place to stay and even said he was trying to counsel them for drinking so much.

He denied having sex with the woman at the trailer, but said they did have a sexual encounter in Albuquerque. He said he was going to the bank to get money from the woman’s account so he could pay his rent when police were called.

Medrano said that he only goes to Albuquerque to find a girlfriend and said, “every girl it seems I’ve ever taken from Albuquerque to my house, they’re trying to file charges that I raped them and all this bad stuff,” a report says.

Warrant leads to another case

Acting on information gathered in the August 2014 case, State Police officers were serving an arrest warrant in Ilfeld about a month later when they found a woman eating at a table. Police had to separate her and Medrano because Medrano kept trying to get her attention.

The woman, 34 at the time, told officers that Medrano had picked her up on the corner of Central Avenue and Texas Street in Albuquerque, and kept her at the trailer for about two weeks and raped her several times.

This woman said Medrano kept her in the back of the trailer, which was separated from the rest of it by a sheet, and others in the trailer were not allowed to go back there.

She said she wasn’t allowed to leave the property or call her mother, and she said Medrano kicked her out of the trailer sometimes and made her sleep outside.

She said she’d known Medrano for about 16 years and dated him for a time, but she said the relationship ended due to domestic violence.

Medrano was charged with 12 counts of criminal sexual penetration, and one count each of assault and false imprisonment against this woman, but agents weren’t done filing charges against Medrano.

Almost a year later, on Aug. 6, 2015, State Police Agent Ryan Kuehl conducted an interview at the Solace Crisis Treatment Center in Santa Fe with a woman said he had managed to escape Medrano in October 2013. Assistant Las Vegas District Attorney Kit Ayala was also there.

The woman said Medrano picked her up at the homeless shelter in the former Pete’s Pets store in Santa Fe on Oct. 19, 2013, with a man named Floyd Salazar, who has since died, after she agreed to go drink with them. The men made a sexually obscene comment to her while they were on I-25 and that’s when the woman, 47 at the time, said she knew she was in trouble. She said she passed out on the way to the trailer.

The woman said she woke up in bed and saw Medrano with a knife, and he told her he was going to cut her eyes out. The woman said Medrano cut off the end of a TV cord and threatened to sexually assault her with it, and she said she was raped several times, sometimes with “other objects.”

She said Salazar never raped her, but he was present during the assaults and he would fetch things when Medrano asked him to. She said Medrano injected her with drugs once or twice a day.

The victim said the men forced her to put a blue tarp over the kitchen table and she said the two of them started to sharpen knives, and she said she could hear them discussing a plan to kill her.

When Medrano went outside to get a chainsaw, the woman said she knew she was going to die. She said she injected herself with ephedrine, a stimulant used to treat asthma and for other purposes that is commonly abused, that she had in her pocket to help her run away fast enough. The woman was able to make it to I-25, where she was picked up by current San Miguel County Commissioner Rock Ulibarri.

No charge for two years

State Police took a report from the woman on Oct. 24, 2013, but charges weren’t filed against Medrano until two years later and the two other women had accused him.

The woman who ran to I-25 told police at the time that one of her attackers was named Lloyd or Floyd and the other man was named Eddie “with a possible last name of Medrano.”

State Police spokeswoman Sgt. Elizabeth Armijo said Thursday that investigators were still looking into an inquiry by the Journal about why no charges were filed against Medrano in 2013, even though the woman told police his name.

State Police spokesman Tony Lynn, who is no longer with the department, told the Journal for a 2013 story on the woman’s account that officers weren’t going to press charges because they “got nothing” in terms of evidence. A report from 2013 said the woman couldn’t describe where she’d been held.

There is speculation that there may have been other victims of Medrano. A woman who was living in Medrano’s house on Rancho Siringo Drive in Santa Fe said in an interview with State Police Agent Eric Armijo that there was an incident in August 2014 where Medrano brought a woman back from the Ilfeld trailer and took her into the camper in the front yard.

She doesn’t know what happened inside because the door was locked, but she said Medrano was charged with criminal sexual penetration for the incident.

Armijo wrote that he couldn’t find court records on such a charge.

Prosecutor Ayala said at Medrano’s recent plea hearing that it would have been difficult to locate Medrano’s victims to get them to testify at trial now. She told Judge Matthew Sandoval that the plea deal with just four counts against Medrano was the best she could do for the women.

Tomas Benavidez, Medrano’s lawyer, said Medrano is not admitting guilt, but said he would be found “overwhelmingly guilty” if the case went to trial.

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